Diary Recalls Wartime Disaster

17 Aug

A handwritten diary which recorded the dramatic and tragic day-by-day battle against a huge fire in wartime Pembroke Dock is on display for the first time.

Captain Tom Breaks whose wartime diary is on display at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.

Captain Tom Breaks whose wartime diary is on display at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.

It was compiled by Captain Tom Breaks, the senior fire officer who took charge of the firefighting teams following the German air attack on the Llanreath Oil Tank Depot exactly 75 years ago, in August 1940.

The ‘Breaks Diary’ is a prized artefact at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre. It was donated to the town by Captain Breaks’ daughter several years ago.

Martin Cavaney, Trustee of the Sunderland Trust which runs the Heritage Centre, remembered: “We were contacted by his daughter who was anxious that the diary should return to Pembroke Dock. I drove to Cornwall to collect it.

“It is a remarkable document, reflecting a grim chapter in local and national history and much heroism by the firemen. The diary, which is very fragile, is on display at the Heritage Centre and many extracts have been taken from it. It makes a compelling display.”

The Breaks Diary is one part of a major exhibition which marks the 75th anniversary of the Luftwaffe raid. On Friday and Saturday (21st and 22nd) visitors to the Heritage Centre on will be able to enjoy family friendly events with displays and demonstrations by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

What the firemen had to tackle - one of many photographs of the Llanreath Oil Tanks Fire in the Pembroke Dock Archive.

What the firemen had to tackle – one of many photographs of the Llanreath Oil Tanks Fire in the Pembroke Dock Archive.